Duo BRDC Formula 4 grid ready for maiden Rockingham visit
Rockingham plays host to the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship for the first time in the series’ history this Saturday and Sunday (2/3 May) as the 20-strong field makes its way to the Northamptonshire venue for rounds four, five and six of the 2015 season, following a frenetic opening weekend at Oulton Park. The Avon Tyres British GT Championship is co-headlining the meeting with BRDC F4, and both series will enjoy live TV coverage on the Sunday (3 May), the first of five meetings across the 2015 season that will see races broadcast in real-time on Motors TV.
There were three different victors at Oulton Park as Will Palmer, Chris Mealin and Jordan Albert each took a turn to climb to the top step of the podium, with Mealin and Albert claiming their maiden BRDC F4 wins. It’s Palmer who heads the championship standings though, after taking victory in the opening race of the season. The 18-year-old enjoyed a strong weekend in the UK’s most competitive single-seater series as he took pole position, a podium in race two and a fifth-place finish in addition to his race one success to claim 74 points across the meeting. He was also quickest in the pre-Rockingham test at the venue; encouragingly for the Southwater ace over two-tenths of a second faster than his nearest rival.
Palmer commented: “I’m really excited to be racing at Rockingham in an F4 car for the first time. Having taken my first car racing podium and first win there in Ginetta Juniors, I’m confident of having another good weekend to continue our strong start to the season.”
Manxman Chris Mealin leads the chase of the HHC Motorsport driver following an impressive debut weekend in the series. The Formula Ford graduate, driving for two-time title winners Lanan Racing, resisted heavy pressure from Scotland’s Ciaran Haggerty in race two to take the chequered flag and admitted to feeling overwhelmed as he crossed the line. “I certainly didn’t expect to win as it is only my second race in the championship. I just got my head down and had to keep focused, which I did, and the emotions poured out at the end,” said the 21-year-old.
Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Jordan Albert took his first-ever BRDC Formula 4 victory after claiming pole position by virtue of posting the fastest lap across the first two races of the weekend. The youngster, who grew up a stone’s throw from Silverstone, fought off the attentions of various drivers during the race and performed admirably under pressure to claim the win. Albert had been on the pace throughout pre-season and will be one to watch this weekend as he aims to rise from eighth in the overall standings.
Currently third in the championship is second-year driver Tom Jackson who is competing with Chris Dittmann Racing. The Maidstone-based racer, who is also a driving instructor at Brands Hatch, enjoyed a controlled weekend last time out with two fourth-place finishes seeing him quietly enter the top-three in the F4 standings.
A much more eventful weekend was had by Harri Newey, son of legendary Formula One designer Adrian, who took a podium finish in race one but was forced to battle hard for points in Easter Monday’s two races. He fought to sixth position in race two before a spin in race three whilst challenging for the lead saw him relegated to the back of the field. He drove supremely to recover to a ninth-place finish with some strong, yet measured, overtakes helping him on his way.
Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti attended the event on Monday as part of his mentoring role in the Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Initiative. Fresh from Formula E commentary duties at Long Beach, the four-time IndyCar champion watched his driver Ciaran Haggerty take second place in race two and was even on hand to present the young Scot with his trophy on the podium.
South African driver Sebastian Lanzetti made it on to the podium as he took third place in race one of the weekend. Competing with the Hillspeed team, the Johannesburg native was overjoyed at his debut performance, his first single-seater race on UK soil, stating: “I didn’t expect it at all. The team did an amazing job and it is going to be an amazing year.”
Lanan Racing’s rookie driver Jack Bartholomew and second-year racer Rodrigo Fonseca also enjoyed solid results at Oulton Park and lie fifth and seventh in the standings respectively.
Dutchman Paul Sieljes returns to the series with Chris Dittmann Racing for a one-off appearance. The 21-year-old raced for the team in the 2014 Winter Series at Brands Hatch and will fill a second seat with the outfit before Omar Ismail makes his debut at Silverstone, the next round in the 2015 Championship. This means 20 cars will line-up at Rockingham, one-up from Oulton Park.
For the first time in series history, the Duo BRDC F4 Championship will enjoy live TV coverage as race three from the weekend will be broadcast on Motors TV in the United Kingdom from 16:10pm on Sunday (3 May). Live television coverage complements the already extensive F4 highlights package, with an hour-long show broadcast on ITV4, BT Sport and around the world the week following each race meeting. Live timing will also be available throughout the weekend with text updates available through the official Formula 4 website.
Rockingham’s 1.94-mile International Super Sports Car Circuit will test all 20 drivers on the grid to their limit as they try and add to their points tally at the second weekend of the season.